Christopher P. v. Marcus

In Christopher P. v. Marcus, 915 F.2d 794, 804-05 (2d Cir.1990), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 1123, 111 S.Ct. 1081, 112 L.Ed.2d 1186 (1991), a minor had been attending a school established by the State of Connecticut for mentally ill, emotionally disturbed or abused children. Id. at 796-97. The minor's treatment team discharged him from the school in June 1985 after determining that he had achieved sufficient progress to return to community life. Id. at 797. The child and his mother sued on the ground that he was improperly discharged, and the district court granted a temporary restraining order ("TRO") requiring the child to be readmitted to the school in September 1985. Id. at 797-98. At the conclusion of the lawsuit, the district court granted summary judgment for the defendants but awarded attorney's fees to plaintiffs. Id. at 798. The Court rejected plaintiffs' argument on appeal that the grant of the TRO entitled him to an award of fees. Id. at 805. The standard for granting a TRO requires a finding of immediate and irreparable injury but not a specific determination as to the merits. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b). Thus, the Court stated that "the procurement of a TRO in which the court does not address the merits of the case but simply preserves the status quo to avoid irreparable harm to the plaintiff is not by itself sufficient to give a plaintiff prevailing party status." Christopher P., 915 F.2d at 805.